By Linda Bordoni
“I would like to applaud the space for dialogue,” Pope Francis said in a message to Argentina’s IDEA Foundation and Union of Representation of Popular Economy, who are holding a 3-day colloquium to talk about how to find ways to safeguard business development and the dignity of all workers.
Expressing his hope that the event will prove to be “a moment of true exchange that can bring together the innovative contribution of entrepreneurs and workers who are fighting for their dignity and for their families," he reiterated his opinion that work and the respect for the creativity and gifts of all are at the basis of a society in which respect for human dignity is paramount.
The Instituto para el Desarrollo Empresarial de Argentina, widely known as IDEA, is an organization made up of more than 400 of the largest companies in Argentina to organize collective bargaining between the employer sector and the unions and the government. Amongst its objectives is to exchange experiences in best business practices and to be protagonists of economic, political, and social work. The Union of Popular Economy represents informal and self-employed workers.
The Pope noted that it is not the first time he has upheld the vocation of the entrepreneur who seeks “to produce wealth and diversify production, while at the same time making it possible to create jobs,” and highlighted his belief that work gives dignity.
Work gives dignity
“I will never tire of referring to the dignity of work. What gives dignity is work. Those who do not have a job feel that they lack something, they lack the dignity that work gives them, that it anoints with dignity,” he said.
Some, the Pope noted, have put words into his mouth that he does not support: “that I propose a life without effort or that I despise the culture of work.”
And recalling that he is the descendent of Italian immigrants who came to Argentina “with an enormous desire to roll up their sleeves to build a future for their family,” he pointed out that they did not “put their money in the bank, but in bricks and soil.”
“A home, first and foremost: they were looking ahead to family. Family investments,” he said.
“Work,” the Pope continued, “expresses and nourishes the dignity of the human being, it allows the individual to develop the capacities that God has given him or her, it helps weave relationships of exchange and mutual aid, it allows one to feel that he or she is collaborating with God in taking care of this world and developing it, it makes the person feel useful to society and in solidarity with his or her loved ones.”
That’s why, beyond the fatigue and difficulties, it is the path to maturity, to self-realization of the person: it gives wings to one's dreams.
Building a future and developing one’s gifts
Therefore, the Pope said, it is clear that subsidies can only be a temporary help and that the true objective is to offer diversified sources of work that allow everyone to build a future.
And expressing his hope that these diversified sources may open the way for everyone to find the most appropriate context for developing his or her gifts, Pope Francis concluded by upholding the dialogue in progress as not only indispensable but also "fruitful and promising."